The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation (WACF) is a local public not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the Wawasee area watershed for present and future generations.
The Wawasee Watershed covers 23,618 acres including Wawasee, Syracuse, Bonar and Papakeechie lakes as well as ten lakes in the upper Turkey Creek sub watershed.
The Foundation was formed in 1991 to anticipate, search out, and solve threats to the Wawasee Area Watershed and to its water quality. The Foundation is dedicated to enhancement of the watershed and works hand-in-hand with property owner groups, the State Department of Natural Resources and other governmental and civic organizations that share its concerns. The Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation, thus enabling it to provide tax advantages for gifts and grants.
This summer 2013, WACF plans to continue it’s series: ‘Lake Talk and Eats’. Consider joining us at the WACF Education Center on Wawasee, on the first Saturday morning of June, July and August for a light breakfast, coffee and lake talk. Learn how our lakes were formed and their geology, and invasive species: why they are bad news and how to slow them down, and stresses and benefits to the health of our watershed. July is our annual Water Bug Catch for grandparents, parents and children. Kids are surprised to learn that the type of bug they catch indicates the quality of water.
Agriculture Tours with Russell Anderson gets us out on the farm to teach us about ag practices and good land stewardship.
The exotic plant species, Starry stonewort (SS) and Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) continue to be problems in our watershed. WACF has partnered with the Syracuse Lake Association (SLA) on a DNR Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) grant for an update on the Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan for Wawasee and Syracuse Lakes. The first Aquatic Management Plan for Wawasee was completed in 2006, focusing on annual control of EWM in areas of high recreational use. SSW had not yet been discovered. Large scale EWM treatments (25-50 acres) were made on Wawasee in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Starry stonewort was first identified in 2009 in a channel off of Johnson Bay. That year, total acreage in Wawasee was estimated at 15 acres and treated for SSW control. In 2011, the IDNR received a grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the control of exotic weeds. Since then, the IDNR has fully funded numerous SSW treatments in both Wawasee and Syracuse Lakes. These treatments have ranged from 11.29 acres to 67.39 acres.
However, despite large scale efforts to control SSW, its acreage has increased steadily each year since 2009. The total SSW acreage in Wawasee in the fall of 2012 was estimated at 159 acres. Chemical applications temporarily control SSW, but long term control remains an issue. Multiple applications are needed in the same treatment area throughout the season to keep SSW suppressed.
This past fall WACF was installing erosion control projects. As a part of WACF’s ongoing work in the Dillon Creek subwatershed, WACF had the opportunity to partner with The Elkhart River Restoration Association (ERRA) on a Great Lakes Commission (GLC) grant. This substantial grant along with funding from DNR Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) allowed us to complete some substantial erosion control projects.
Dillon Creek - outflow into Wawasee before project
Dillon Creek - After
Dillon Creek - 2 stage ditch
The GLC and LARE grants were awarded to work on erosion in the agricultural areas upstream of our lakes and restore Dillon Creek - a major contributor of sediment to Wawasee. Dillon Creek sediment control project included 2-stage ditches, grade control structures, stream bank stabilization and root wads.
After completing projects in Dillon Creek and Village Lake Stream last year, WACF was continued work with the ERRA GLC grant and a new DNR LARE grant at Ritter Branch. Ritter flows into Hindman Lake upstream in the 10-lake chain. The WACF canoe trip travels through Hindman Lake about ½ down the canoe trip trail, and is one of the most pristine lakes in the watershed.
WACF feels fortunate to have partners like the DNR, the ERRA and the GLC to help control problems we have in the upper watersheds and will strive to continue to do our part to keep the water we are sending downstream as clean as possible.
Ritter Branch flowing to Hindman Lake erosion control and rock chute.
WACF looks forward to having the annual WPOA Dinner at the WACF Ruddell Pavilion on August 18th, 2012!!
The WACF Annual Breakfast will be Saturday August 25th, 2012 from 8-10am at the Education Center, 11586 N. SR 13. Come for a free continental breakfast and to hear noted speaker IU Professor Bill Jones. Special musical guest: Mike Struwin. Please join us.
The Water Bug Catch in July was well attended. Nancy Brown led us in catching water bugs. Grandparents and kids competed for prizes catching aquatic critters and learned why they are important.
Sediment Control projects – With funding from DNR Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), WACF recently completed the Village Lake Stream Restoration. The stream is over 2,200’ long and located near the Historic Indian Oven.
Village Lake Stream Restoration
Village Lake Stream Grade Control - photo by GTH
The Elkhart River Restoration Association (ERRA) has partnered with WACF on a Great Lakes Commission (GLC) grant, and along with a grant from LARE the goal is to control sediment in Dillon Creek and other areas. We are grateful to be working with the ERRA, the GLC and LARE. Dillon Creek is the #1 sediment contributor to Wawasee and we recently completed phases I, II, and IV. It flows from Cromwell through Enchanted Hills before entering Wawasee.
Dillon Creek sediment / erosion control
Starry Stonewort control – This year WACF partnered with the Syracuse Lake Association (SLA) for a survey of Starry Stonewort. The DNR is continuing to treat Starry Stonewort in Wawasee and Syracuse as well as surveys and monitoring of the invasive weed.
FARM TOUR with Russell Anderson
Please join WACF for our Annual Farm Tour led by Russell Anderson on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 9am at Dillon Creek on the Noble / Kosciusko County Line Road. Learn about seeding, fertilizers, soils, drought conditions and status of crops, etc. Email WACF at: firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Lake Talk and Eats
Everyone is welcome to join us the first Saturdays of June, July, and August, for Lake Talk and Eats. Lake Talk and Eats starts at 9am. July 7th will feature a Water Bug Catch for kids. Come and catch some water bugs with us and we will identify them - and that will tell us how healthy our water is!
Saturday, August 4th, 2012 will be 'Invasive Species' with Jed Pearson from the IDNR. Hope you can join us! Let us know if you have questions: email@example.com or 574-457-4549.